Restoring Vela: Episode 9 – Hatches and House Sides

No one likes cutting holes in boats, but when you’re opening up a new deck to install a hatch, it’s the right thing to do and it’s imperative that you get it right! Brendan takes his time making sure the new foredeck hatch is level and tight. Meanwhile the main hatch to the cabin is being fit and formed to be a beautiful piece of art. Mahogany house sides are attached and the house front and corners, and the coamings are installed. All these little detail pieces are small in scale, but massive in appearance. Vela is coming close to completion and it won’t be long until she’s out racing and overnighting around Narragansett Bay. 

The companionway hatch was designed and built by pro woodworker, Valen Coble. His skills were put to good use with joinery that impressed all who worked with him. Brendan worked through the tough hatch install, which required filling to compensate for the sloped decks. Using Thixo and fairing compound Brendan builds up the sides to perfectly fit the hatch. And just like that the team is making it look easy!

This is not a how-to series teaching you step by step restoration techniques. It’s an overview of an amazing restoration we felt was worthy of showing our customers. There cannot be instruction from the crew because, quite simply, they are working and are not there making a video, as is the case with our series with Lou Sauzedde. It should be okay with our viewers that they are different things. Not every video series will teach you how-to, but we hope that doesn’t mean they are without value. We think there is a lot of value in this massive restoration. And we hope you do, too.



16 responses to “Restoring Vela: Episode 9 – Hatches and House Sides

  1. Enough negative comments about the music—what’s not to like about SRV. I would urge commenters to read the 3rd paragraph in your description of the video above. I for one fully appreciate what is being presented here and find value in the video series. Keep up the fine work and ignore the trolls.

  2. This boat is really starting to come together, and it’s going to be beautiful! I love the combination of a glass hull with extensive brightwork in the cabin and cockpit.

    I wish everyone would stop complaining about the music.. they dialed back the volume, which is helpful for those wanting to hear the narrative, but to call Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Little Wing” terrible?, well that just breaks my heart.

  3. Once again nice job. She’s going to be beautiful. And cheers for Stevie music… Perfect choice for this boat!

  4. Excellent presentation. At this point of the project I am thinking back to the first installment. I would like to see the original scope of work and a list of all of the steps that had to take place and the order of each in order for this project to get to this point. Small boat but a very complex job.

    1. Sam, thank you for your comment. I think it would be entirely appropriate for this series to document the sequence and order of the individual tasks to complete. Perhaps the tasks could ba annotated with a short video of the task.
      I am very enthusiastic to do this as our intent with this series is not to elaborate on the details each task, but to outline the steps to complete a job like this and perhaps give our viewers the confidence to consider a project like this.
      Sam, thank you very much for your considerations.
      Dan Shea

  5. Discordant music is in direct contrast with the workmanship. If you insist on music to accompany the presentations , have it enhance the program. As Rolls Royce ads once proclaimed, quality is quiet.

  6. Enjoyed the video, loved the trap set and the guitar. Gave us a good idea to share with our yahoo Sunfish_Sailor group about installing inspection ports on cambered deck. We send our thanks to all of the team for being willing to share their knowledge, skills, resources and expertise and the time required to publish. Can’t wait to see Vela take flight again.

  7. Stevie Ray Vaughan laying down some guitar in the background. Who could have a problem with that. Oh, good video too.

  8. always love watching craftsman doing their stuff. It never gets old!
    Thanks so much for bringing the process to the public. Wish I was there to help.
    Except for the varnishing. I’ve got enough of my own thank you very much.

    1. You have a choice:
      1. “Bed” all joining parts with an oil based “boatyard” bedding compound that in quite short order leach out the oils, shrink and allow water ingress leading to repairs and or restorations


      2. Join all parts with a two component epoxy that is inert to deterioration

      I have surveyed “epoxy composite” boats I have built over the past 45 years and found original joins to be intact.

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